Poland is a fast-developing country benefiting from post-communist economic liberalisation, with a growing appetite for western products. Political freedom led to the country becoming the 22nd largest globally by GDP. Before political liberalisation in 1989, Polish consumers had limited choice when it came to buying products. Nearly everything was developed by public sector organisations driven by politics. These organisations had 30-year business plans which were based on political ideals rather than market research or customer demand. Consumers ended up with homogenous products that didn’t really meet their tastes.
Western products were inaccessible unless Poles travelled abroad, and even then were unaffordable for most people. This is one of the reasons why Polish consumers now have such high demand for western brands. Not only do Polish consumers want the brands, they have the finance to back up the demand.
Research from KPMG shows wealthy Poles spend 18% of their income on luxury goods, and aspirational Poles spend 13% on luxury goods. The total spend in Poland in 2012 on luxury goods was 36.8bn zloty (around £7.2bn), up by over 10% since 2011. This figure is expected to keep rising, hitting 46.4bn zloty by 2015. The Poles’ budget for spending is going up.
As a second generation Pole, every time I visit Poland I’m struck by how quickly the country is developing both economically and culturally. Visiting 15 years ago, it was still difficult to find western products; now, it’s quite the reverse, with shelves stacked full of familiar western brands like Wilkinson Sword and Head and Shoulders.
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